Definition - What does Spermatogonium mean?

A spermatogonium is a premature stem cell present in the testes that undergoes a series of cell division and differentiation to become a mature sperm cell, by a process known as spermatogenesis. The production of sperm cells from a spermatogonium is a highly regulated process that requires the testes to be under optimum conditions. Any internal or external disturbance to this process can lead to reduced quantity and/or quality of sperm, which is a known cause of male infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Spermatogonium

There are 3 main types of spermatogonia in the testes; type A pale (Ap), type A dark (Ad) and type B cells. Type A pale spermatogonia actively multiply and produce Type B spermatogonia, which progresses in the process of spermatogenesis to become primary spermatocytes. Dark spermatogonia do not participate in spermatogenesis. Instead, one Type Ad spermatogonium divides into one type Ap and one type Ad cell and makes sure there is a constant supply of Ap cells for spermatogenesis to continue.

Spermatgenesis begins at the spermatogonia. A spermatogonium is a type of stem cell that goes through a series of mitotic cell division to produce primary spermatocytes. Each primary spermatocyte produces 4 sperm cells, also known as spermatozoa by meiosis, a process by which half of the genetic material is transferred to the sperm.

Environmental factors such as radiation, heat and medications like anticancer drugs can damage the DNA and proteins in spermatogonia causing these cells to undergo premature cell death, or produce defective sperm cells. Significant loss of normal spermatogonia can lead to male infertility.

Transplantation of Type A spermatogonia from a healthy donor is a potential treatment for this type of infertility.

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